Our teeth are incredibly important in the way we eat and digest our food. Teeth are small, hard, bony calcified formations that are set into our jaws and are used for chewing and biting.
- The enamel on our teeth is the hardest substance in the human body.
- Compared to the entire size of a tooth, the root is 70% of the total length of a tooth.
- Our teeth are one of the only parts of our bodies that does not have the ability to repair itself.
When we are born, we don’t have teeth. The first set, known as ‘baby teeth’ slowly grow in and they total to twenty teeth. When our adult teeth grow in we have a total of thirty two teeth.
The buds of new teeth in a baby start to grow when they are nine to twelve weeks in development while still in the mom’s tummy.
When the baby teeth start to fall out, new adult teeth start to grow. A child will have a mixture of baby teeth and adult teeth. This is called ‘mixed dentition’.
The tooth is broken down into parts: The main part that we can see is known as the crown. The root is the area below the gum-line and this is the part that we can’t see.
The actual structure of a tooth is made up of four parts: the enamel, the dentin, the pulp and the cementum.
The enamel is the outer part of the tooth. The dentin is a bone like material just underneath the enamel and covers the softer pulp. The blood vessels and nerve endings run through the pulp. The cementum actually covers the tooth root and attaches the tooth to the jaw.
It is important to brush and floss your teeth every day to keep tartar from building up. Food that is left on the teeth can attract bacteria and between the tartar and bacteria, that can create cavities.
- Humans have four different types of teeth in our mouths: incisors, canines, premolars and molars.
- Incisors are the flat, larger teeth at the front of our mouths and they are designed to help us bite into food. The pointed teeth next to the incisors are the canines and they are designed for the tearing of food.
- Molars are the solid, big bumpy teeth at the back of your mouth and they are designed for chewing and crushing food. Premolars are also for chewing and they are slightly smaller than the standard molars.
Since our teeth cannot repair themselves, any injury, break or chip must be fixed by a dentist.
- In 2009, the longest human tooth was extracted in Singapore. It was measured at 3.2 cm long.
- Brushing your teeth must be done in a gentle, circular motion at least twice per day. Always remember to gently brush the gum line as well.
- Some people have adult teeth that grow in crooked or even sideways (growing directly towards the tongue). Sideways teeth must be extracted, but crooked teeth can be straightened through the use of braces.
If you see the dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning as well as brush twice per day, your teeth should last you a lifetime.
Some people don’t have access or can’t afford to go to the dentist. Sadly, their teeth pay the price and if the damage is very severe, they often have to have all of their teeth pulled. In this case, they may be required to get ‘dentures’, which fit into the mouth and sit on the gums.